Sunday, July 25, 2010

A hearty curry from Sri Lanka

The theme of hearty could have been right for just about every dish I am cooking these days, it's that cold weather & having to cook for 4 now and toddlers and pre-schoolers seem to like the hearty dishes best of all.

In the end I decided it's been ages since I cooked up a good curry (sadly need to stay away from chilli for the kids), so with not too much on I was ready to do the double dinner cook off, ie cook a spicy curry for Michael & I & a separate dinner for the kids (corn and zucchini fritters with chicken schnitzel if you are interested!).  I love Sri Lankan curries and really miss the old Village Curry House on Sydney road, what ever happened to it I wonder?  So I turned to my Food Safari book & the Sri Lankan chapter to find this classic chicken curry by Charmaine Solomon.  Despite the long list of ingredients, if you get all the spices measured up before you start and pretend you are a tv chef filming :), its a really simple curry to put together.  The flavours are delicious, spicy yet subtle & all rounded off nicely by the addition of the coconut milk at the end, one to make again & very close to the flavours of my old favourite.

The rest of the weeks hearty dishes include a chicken and leek pie, spaghetti and meatballs and beetroot soup, mmm 2 months in and still not sick of Winter cooking for 2010.

Notes - I used dried curry leaves as didn't have time to search out fresh ones.  Also didn't bother peeling my tomatoes as for a dish like this I dont notice the difference.  And sadly no pandan leaves to be found either so left out with no substitute.  And my biggest note, even though I asked for chicken on the bone, I unwrapped my parcel to find boneless thigh pieces, thankfully this didn't dry the dish out & it was still perfect.

Chicken Curry - Food Safari - Maeve O'Meara - Recipe by Charmaine Solomon in Sri Lanka Chapter

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil (or a combination)
1/4 tspn fenugreek seeds
10 curry leaves on the stem
2 large onions, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cardamon pods, cracked
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 pandan leaf, folded
1.5kg chicken thighs on the bone
250ml thick coconut milk
lemon juice (optional)

Heat the ghee or oil and fry the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves until the leaves start to turn brown.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the ground spices, salt and vinegar and stir well.  Add the tomato, whole spices, lemongrass and pandan leaf, then add the chicken.  Stir to coat the chicken in the spices, then cover and cook over a low heat for 40-50 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and taste for salt.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.  Serves 6.

3 comments: said...

You've got me craving a curry now!!!!

Agnes said...

I haven't decided on a hearty dish yet - but you're so right about almost every dish being cooked right now belonging to the theme. ;) Your curry sounds delish - home made curries are the best!

April @ My Food Trail said...

Mmmmm, I can just imagine how wonderful this curry must have smelt with all those spices!